Name: Jimmy Reese
Hometown: Wallingford, PA
Major: Voice Performance
Why did you decide to audition for the Undertones?
What was most attractive to me about the Undertones was how much a family they are. I knew I wanted to be in an a capella group but didn’t really know which one. I remember watching a video from Ella (a current junior in the group) who was studying abroad; she talked about how joining the Undertones wasn’t necessarily joining a singing group, but an amazing group of friends. This has proved entirely true since I’ve been in the group!
The group just got back from their spring break tour to California. What are some of your most memorable moments from the trip?
The best part of the tour was the unexpected singing – performing for a family we didn’t know during their seder was really memorable, especially since it was in a high rise overlooking the San Francisco bay. That and the copious amounts of food that would often magically appear in front of us thanks to generous hosts!
In addition to singing, you also arrange songs for the group. What’s your favorite arrangement so far?
My favorite arrangement is one we’re working on currently. I’m not allowed to tell you the name (I don’t think) but let’s just say we’re getting super jazzy!
What are the challenges of arranging music for an a cappella group?
When arranging a song you develop a love-hate relationship with it. You learn every nook and cranny of a song because arranging it requires listening to it over and over and over again. The biggest challenge is finding the motivation to listen one more time to find that tiny little thing you’re missing – but it’s always worth it.
You’re one of the new music directors for the group – what are you most looking forward to doing in this position moving forward?
I’m so excited to be in this position for the upcoming year, especially since I get to work closely with the other MD, Benjy Howard – he’s someone I look up to so much! The Undertones are such a talented group of singers and it’s an honor to have the opportunity to co-direct them.